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Taking Care of Business – Manufactured Housing Industry – October 2015

October 3rd, 2015 No comments

Before we get down to Taking Care of Business in MH, let me first note the following.

 

In the middle of October, we’ll mark the 6th anniversary launch of what we now call MHProNews.com.  In this issue, you’ll find quotable quotes from industry leaders and professionals who say in their own words, why this online trade journal and professional news source for MH is valuable to them.  We thank all our volunteers, writers, news tip sources and sponsors for making it possible for us to serve you. The article with quotes is linked below.

 

Here is a small snipet of those kudos comments that came in via LinkedIn…

KatreinaRuffinCPC-Kudos6thAnniversaryMHProNews-com-

Congrats_on_Anniversary_MHProNews

These are just some of those who sent kudos ad congrats via LinkedIn. Our thanks to all for the kind wishes and thanks for letting us serve you!

…let me stress, that the kind words go to the team.  We have volunteers, writers, formal team members, sponsors, those that give us news tips and more.  Together, we are pleased to be serving you and this great industry that we love.

 

Now, let’s focus on…

 

Taking Care of Business

 

We are over half a decade into the ‘recovery’ of manufactured housing.  That recovery is real, but far too modest.  We must each do our part to be ‘taking care of business.’

GrowthIsPainfulChangeIsPainfulMandyHale-TheSingleWoman-Pinterest=credit-postedMHLivingNews-com-

Image credit, Pinterest and the Single Woman.

Communications is a huge part of what MH needs. You may need something, but don’t know where to turn.  Or you may have a product or service that is PERFECT for someone that doesn’t even know you exist in MH. Or they may have met you once, but in the hustle and bustle of the post-great recession America, you’re not top of mind.  What to do?

ballons-up-lightbulbman-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

To rise, you must let go of the dead weights of the past. We must look up to rise, not look down.

Many B2B firms are using this platform, or industry events that we promote, to make their products and services better known and more successful.  That is one way of taking care of business.

 

On the B2C side, taking care of business means reaching more consumers who have cash or good credit.  We have a number of articles that are “how to” or examples in the new features from pros, linked below.

 

We also have articles by attorneys, a reputation promotion professional – who in their unique ways are also ‘taking care of business.

 

Then there are articles on financing and news related to lending (the latest on GSEs, FHFA and Duty to Serve covered in the Daily Business News, is linked here).

 

One last Taking Care of Business not on the reading list below…I’ll be presenting on SuperCharged MH Marketing and Sales in just a few days at the New York Housing Association’s regional meeting – their 65th event!  Kudos to them for that milestone. Please see their brochure, linked here.

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SuperCharged Marketing and Sales at the upcoming New York Housing 65th annual regional MH professional meeting.

Personal note…

 

Let me take a moment, and thank you for the opportunity to serve you and your colleagues.  In case it isn’t clear, I love manufactured housing.  Doing what we do to educate others and promote MH is challenging, but also a joy.  Sure, there are days or situations that arise that are headaches. But we believe strongly that MH has a bright future ahead.

 

There are still plenty of risks.  But working together with other forward thinkers and doers, we believe that our best days could be ahead.  Thanks for letting us share that vision and goal with you.

 

With no further adieu, here are the 18 new Featured Articles for October 2015 – Taking Care of MH Business.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 7, No. 1, 2015

Alphabetically by Category

 

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

No Crystal Ball: Disparate Impact Is Not Crystal Clear 

by Nadeen Green, JD

nadeen-green-mhpronews-comThe National Apartment Association recently provided an excellent webinar titled “Fair Housing Disparate Impact: Learn How the Supreme Court’s Decision Affects You.”

Read more…

Tenant Discrimination Laws, Trends, and Landlord Recommendations 

by Kurt Kelley, JD

kurt-kelly-american-insurance-agency-aia 50x50Are you a member of a legally protected class?

Read more…

FINANCING


New Lenders, Investors and New Builders for Manufactured Housing 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachThere is a significant degree of frustration in MHVille over financing. Most savvy pros understand that we can’t return to the go-go days of the 90s, when a fogged mirror “got bought.”

 

Read more…

CU Factory Built Lending West Region reaches $1B in total loans originationed and over 10,000 Members currently served with Manufactured Housing Financing 

by John Walters

CU Factory Built Lending West Region ReachesCU Factory Built Lending’s West Region office in Federal Way, WA reached two important milestones in August in its mission to serve the manufactured housing industry and its members.

 

Read more…

 

 

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

ROC USA Announces yet another MHC Conversion

by Mike Bullard

mikeBullard-ROC USA Community Closing MHCommunity Category -MIke Bullard -Oct-55X55We recently issued this press release on yet another manufactured home community becoming a resident owned community. To learn more, click the banner and see the media release below. –

 

Read more…

Weathering the Storms: How Manufactured Homes Can Do It

by Jan Hollingsworth

jan-hollingsworth-for-mhlivingnews-com-55“We have entered a new era of catastrophes. Either we pretend they will not happen to us, or we join forces to make resilience a national priority.” –

Read more…


• TCB

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachPart of the original vision for MHProNews was to support MH Professionals, and thus, the organizations and businesses that they serve.

 

Read more…

6th Anniversary MHProNews Celebration Comments from Readers 

by MH Industry Professionals

mh-logoIt literally drives me temporarily insane when I read or hear manufactured housing referred to by the media, by any other nomenclature than manufactured housing, or manufactured home.

Read more…

Sunshine Homes, Red Bay, AL – 2 Points on Manufactured Housing Image, More MH Sales 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachJohn Bostick shared a column in May titled the MH Image and Education Campaign – Open Letter to the Manufactured and Modular Home Industry. –

 

Read more…

JOBS and Careers Positions – Get them, Fill Them – Taking Care of Business 

by Soheyla Kovach

s-k

 

In the hustle and bustle of business, many have overlooked the obvious place to showcase career openings in manufactured housing.


Read more…

Colorado Manufactured Home Community Occupancy and Rent Trends Report 

by Darren Krolewski

darren-krolewski-vp-mhvillage-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-55x55Datacomp recently published a press release on this subject of Colorado MHC trends, which we wanted to draw to the MH Industry’s attention. The details of that release are found below.

 

Read more…

• Selling a Manufactured Home Community? Get Top Dollar! Buying? Check this New Listing Out! 

by Christopher Nortley

ChristopherNortlyMHREinc=postedMHProNews-comy50x50-We recently closed on a 921 portfolio community, one of many MHCs we’ve listed and sold.

 

Read more…

 

The Image Problem—in Three Stages

by Bob Vahsholtz

bob-vahsholtz-author-dueling-curves-battle-for-housing-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-manufatured-housing-professional-news-50x50-“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

 

Read more…

It’s Crunch Time for Nominations to the RV/MH Hall of Fame Class of 2016 

by Jeff White

JeffWhiteRVMHHallofFameVP-postedMHProNews-com-50x50-ELKHART, Ind., — Darryl Searer, chairman, RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall), wants to remind those planning to nominate someone for induction into the Hall of Fame that the deadline for nominations for the Class of 2016 is fast approaching,

 

Read more…

 

MARKETING


5 Ways to Building Your MH Reputation

by Wayne Coakley

WayneCoakleyGrenadeMarketingGroupReputationMarketing-ManufacturedHousing-55x62 headshot_MHProNews-com-

In last month’s article I promised to give you details and to help you with implementing a Reputation Marketing strategy in your manufactured home business.

 

Read more…

Taking Care of MH Communities Business – Marketing and Selling Approaches 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachCommunity management involves a myriad of details. Maintenance, collections, budgets, CapX, a professional implementation of guidelines for living and pro-active resident relations are among them.

 

Read more…

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION


Living with Wisdom – 3 Tips – Appreciation, Intent, Plans 

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-com

Appreciation – In one of my favorite books, What Happy People Know by Dan Baker he shares a very simple and yet profound topic – simply that the single common trait among all happy people is the ability and willingness to give appreciation no matter what.

Read more…

ZigOn The Main Thing

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglar

The refrain most often heard in the media, in private conversations and correspondence, is “I apologize for not getting back sooner, but I’ve been so busy…”

Read more…


Serious September – Manufactured Housing Industry Newsmakers, Reports, Articles and Interviews

September 2nd, 2015 No comments

Serious September 2015. It could just as easily be named, how to Scale Success, or Sliding Sideways September.  Which of the later two it will be depends on how each of us views and responds to events and opportunities.  Before outlining our STRONG Serious September Featured Articles and Interviews line up, let me explain what I mean.

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We could use as an executive summary for the next few paragraphs below that Media Engagement by MH Matters, and that Engaging the Media as Media is Very Useful.

1) We spent the early part of the summer documenting MH potential and opportunities on MHProNews.com.  As with the rest of our content, you can still see and access those articles. June is here and July, linked here.  We could summarize it by saying that with rents rising, site-building through the roof (on costs…) and inventories of ‘affordable homes’ in short supply in many markets, MH has plenty of opportunities for a record rebound.

summer2015state-of-manufactured-housing-industry-report-mhpronews-com-

The reports, linked via the image above, were part of a hot, hot summer on MHProNews.

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Dick Ernst, FinMark USA and Chariman of Financial Services division at MHI.

2) Among the reasons given for not rising higher in new home shipments than we have include financing and new regulations.  More on that shortly, but I’ll refer back to what Dick Ernst, now Chairman of MHI’s Financial Services Committee, has said.  There is no lack of capacity for our MH lenders to finance many more people, who are financially qualified. That could be rephrased as ‘we need to attract better credit customers,’ without ignoring providing the millions – who have no chance for a site built house – the opportunity to buy from us.

3) We have to broaden our industry’s base.  We have to attract the more credit qualified customers, without ignoring the traditional, affordable, entry-level side of our market.  There are retailers and MHCs who are doing it. That means, it can be done in your market too.  How do we do that, you ask?  Many ways, including through media and PR strategies.

Not Letting CFPB and their cheer leaders off the Hook

It is offensive to think MH pros can collectively do only one thing at a time well.  The people I know can walk, chew gum and carry on a cogent conversation all at once. En masse, there are tons we can do, together.

CFPB-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews1com-

CFPB-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews2com-

Any serious researcher is going to find what you see in the screen capture above. MHProNews, MHLivingNews and our other related media efforts are in-the-mix of the conversation on CFPB regulations and their impact on MH.

So while there absolutely has to be a focus on regulatory relief – that we support in word and deed – we ought not make that the one-and-only-thing needed for industry recovery.  Frankly, the regulatory relief sought is as much or more for those estimated 1.7 million households that have a home under 20k in value, as it is for professionals selling the industry’s pre-owned homes.

So we applaud the efforts of the national and state associations in MH that are working to correct those terrible ‘unintended consequence’ of Dodd-Frank. We’re doing more than cheering. We’re doing the meetings, the legislative outreaches, PLUS providing digital cover for the effort in the form of serious research that makes policy types and Senate staffers say (paraphrasing what a Democratic Senate staffer told me), Hey, that’s a pretty compelling argument.

Dodd-Frank-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews-com-

Dodd-Frank-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews2com-

Again, any serious researcher on Dodd-Frank and Manufactured Home Loan regulations will come across the MHProNews, MHLivingNews and our OpEd on The Hill Congress blog. We are woven into the conversation, which means that the REAL consumer and industry views are being presented.  Ditto someone checking out Doug Ryan/CFED comments, they are bound to find one or more of our articles that will correct the record, and are in favor of reforms sought by the MH Industry. 

DougRyanCFED-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews1com-

DougRyanCFED-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews2com-

As further proof of the digital cover, Jan Hollingsworth’s latest column, “Renters’ Nation” has lit up since it was published.

RentersNationTheDarkSideDoddFrankImpactAffordableHousing-MHLivingNews-postedMHProNews-com-

Click here  to see this read hot, new story….

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/renters-nation-the-dark-side-of-dodd-frank-and-its-impact-on-affordable-housing/

87 hours and 38 minutes after the above was published, Webalizer reports there were 42,917 hits on that one article In MH Land, that’s astonishing.

What has to be done now is to scale that outcome

If you want the CFPB and/or the Senate to agree to changes in MH regulations, let me repeat that: what we now have to do is scale that readership result cited above. Please share the link above to Jan’s article with your local editor, and with your  Congressional Rep, your 2 U.S. Senators and the CFPB.

Let’s put this total readership of Jan’s article into perspective.

Just because some publication may have a million readers, that doesn’t mean that each article is read.  Case in point.  We took respected and popular Forbes’ article, shown below.  On July 29th, 2014 on a hot subject, it had 6,701 views.  13 months later, you see that the total views on that article are now up to 7,732.   What that Forbes article has in views in 4 and 2/3rds years, Jan’s latest article accomplished in less than 4 days.

Forbes=credit=taxWaste6.1BillionManHoursComplingFederalTaxCode-JanetNovack-postedMastheadBlog-MHProNews-com

Do you recall when this was big news for a while in the media? Look at the actual views on the article, this screen capture dated 9.2.2015.  7, 732 total views.  It isn’t just how many see it, but who sees it an then acts upon it.  Credit – Forbes.

Side Show September?

Word has it from certain hot spots that some are already grumbling that we gave Frank Rolfe his right to free speech via a featured interview in this month’s issue.  Why would we, as a pro-MH publisher, allow Frank to be quoted as he shared it?

Wouldn’t you want to be quoted accurately?

To be taken seriously as trade media, we have to be fair and balanced, or we risk sliding into irrelevance.  We quoted Doug Ryan accurately too, and I’m not equating the two by any means. When we quote:

  • Jim Clayton, or
  • Nathan Smith, or
  • John Bostick, or
  • Mark Weiss, or
  • Dick Jennison, or whomever,

we ought to quote them accurately. And we do.

Indirectly Related – a Note of Caution

There are already whispers about the wisdom of MHI VP Rick Robinson and MHI Chairman Nathan Smith going to a stage in about a week, when the person providing the stage is said to be in conflict with MHI and the NCC.

Policy

As a matter of policy, we’ve allowed people to critique me and our publication, on our own pages.  So we do this very fairly.  I don’t have to agree or disagree with Frank on his statements regarding MHI and the NCC to protect his right to speak out on those subjects, even though it was not at all on our minds when we asked him the questions. We had no idea what Frank’s replies would be.

If MHI wants to respond, they are welcome to do so.  We are willing to share that response, publicly. Fair and balanced reporting. Period.

We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Something we strive diligently to avoid is any FALSE or errant statement (this, in contrast to an unpopular opinion).  When someone says there are 50,000 or 55,000 MHCs in the U.S. (for example), we’ll either want them to correct that number (that totals is likely more like 45,000, according to informed sources) or we would want to cut the statement entirely.

But that’s not what Frank Rolfe did.  Frank stated his views, and in no way shared a claim that is not grounded in a fact, though those facts can be understood in a variety of ways.

The issues raised by others of late are not new, and are not a side show.  They are on the minds of many in MH; we know, because we’ve heard them often enough.  Its just that this was the first time someone wanted to say so, on the record.

“We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Listening and Taking Correction Well

We had a nice message recently that praised our reporting and commentary work, but then included two typos that needed to be corrected (only 2? ;-).  The writer explained, he didn’t want the corrections to be taken the wrong way.  My rapid response was to make the corrections, and thank him.

An MHI staff officer also sent us a correction on a typo recently. Same outcome as the above.  We want to get the facts right.  We thanked the party.

We published the early comments on Jan’s article, one was that ‘it was long.’ We worked that perspective into the article, linked below.  My response?  I thanked the person for the comment.  That said, the challenge with what we face is in MH as an industry is that we’ve let too much stuff build up over the years, and now we need more than 800 words to dig ourselves out.  The fact that there are so many hits on Jan’s article so fast strongly suggests the content is ‘just right.’

You Can’t Please Everyone, All the Time…

Nor should that be our goal.  If everything was perfect in MHVille, then maybe we’d only need 300 to 400 word columns that all say, ‘everything’s great!’

The reality is there is work to do. Plenty of it. Grab a tool, and let’s get to it.  Failure to address the issues that nag us costs new MH sales.

Record Setting!

MHProNews had 5 days in August that topped 100,000 hits.  Again, in an industry our size, that’s amazing.  On On August 21st, Webalizer reported the daily count was 180,959 hits.  Our readers don’t have to like every article, for there to be value.

#1-mhpronews-com-

MH Professionals, enthusiasts, educators, media, government officials and investors are among the key groups reflected in software and stats. You and thousands of others have made us the runaway #1 place for MH Industry News Tips and Views Pros Can Use. ©

I explained to an industry leader recently that we publish bad news on the Daily Business News; we do so in part, because it happens; but also because when someone gets (for example) arrested for swindling down payments from a buyer, publishing that acts as a cautionary tale.  Good practices are often rewarded with success, while bad ones are discovered and punished.

When there is a controversy, we ought not ignore it, unless paying attention only fuels something that needs the oxygen removed.

In the matter of MHI/NCC and Frank Rolfe, MHI has to consider why they wanted him on stage, and then they need to consider what might happen if they fail to heed the cautionary note above about the upcoming non-association event.

My bet?  If Nathan Smith and Rick Robinson go to that fast approaching private event of an allegedly disgruntled member as planned, the day will eventually come when they wished they had opted not to do so.  That’s my two cents, they can take it or leave it.

But there should be no doubt that we want what’s good for the organization and good for the industry!  We prove that day by day, showcasing the good, and periodically reminding people there are issues to address that need mending.  You’re reading because you know what’s published here matters and has influence.

Intro for our Featured Articles, Reports and Interviews for September…

As we reported above, we had an August that set records.  When you see the incredible line up we have for our Featured Articles for September, perhaps you’ll agree that this month could set new records with readers like you.

  • We have 2 New Cup of Coffee with…interviews. Chris Parish and Dan Rinzema are featured in their own interviews, which many will find inspirational, useful and insightful.
  • These “Cuppa” interviews will be quite different than the interview with Frank Rolfe, who took some very tough questions put to him, and he responded in what will no doubt be seen by many in wave making ways.  We have no direct connection to Frank, so when I commend him for taking the tough questions we gave him head-on and in a timely fashion, that’s sincerely meant.  Others should think to consider that practice.
  • We have a video interview with Matt Webb, in what ought to be a must-view for anyone interested in improving their management and bottom lines, especially in the MH Community sector, but frankly useful beyond that realm too.
  • We have 4 columns by 5 respected attorneys; you’ll see their important topics that can protect your business, below.
  • We have 2 unique reports on how the new Appraisal Rule roll out is going, with our related MH Industry Survey results coming out soon.
  • There is New York Housing Association’s upcoming regional trade show and educational event.
  • Researching Manufactured Housing Industry Personalities, Organization’s and Topics.
  • A look at the hot early response to Renters’ Nation, the Dark Side of Dodd-Frank’s Impact on MH.
  • Ken Haynes Jr. sounds off on a recent media report.
  • AIA celebrates their 15th anniversary, kudos to them and check out their press release.
  • There are 2 inspirational/motivational articles.
  • Certainly not least for anyone who wants to close more sales, there are videos and an article on reputation management.

With no further adieu, let’s jump into this month’s new Featured Articles, Interviews and Reports.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 6, No. 12, 2015

Alphabetically by Category

 

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

• How To Keep Peace and Harmony In Our MH Communities (at a low cost) 


Robert-Coldren-JD by Rob Coldren, Esq and Dan Rudderow, Esq.

The rule breaking tenant can be handled in many ways. Options include:

Read more…

 

• Water, Water, How Much Is That Water?
by Bill Dahlin, JD

bill-dahlin-hkc-law-california-posted-manufactured-housing-pro-news-com-50x50-
Any Californian who has picked up a newspaper, listened to the news, or not been a bonafide Rip Van Wrinkle, is aware that California is in the midst of a significant drought.

Read more…

 

FINANCING

 

• The Appraisal Rule – Six Weeks Report Card

By Lance Hull
LanceHull21stMortgageCorporationPostedMHProNews-com-55x55.jpgOn July 18th, 2015, the Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans (HPML) Appraisal Rule went into effect for our industry.

 

Read more…

 

• Answers to Questions About the New Appraisal Rule

by Darren Krolewski
darren-krolewski-vp-mhvillage-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-55x55The following were answers provided to questions posed by MHProNews.com to DataComp about the new Appraisal rule implementation.

 

Read more…

 

• S. 682 Offers Possible Relief for Consumers Stranded by CFPB

by Bill Matchneer, JD
bill-matchneer-hud-manufactured-housing-division-cfpb-mhpronews-com-50x50Recent history has shown that the regulations designed to…

 

Read more…

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

 

• 65th Annual Convention, Trade Show and Expo – New York Housing Association – Oct 8-12th, 2015 

by Nancy Geer

nancy-geer-new-york-housing-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-50x50-We hope you are well. I have attached the event brochure for you reference. Please see the PDF that is attached.

Read more…

 

• I Can’t Be the Only One.

by Ken Haynes Jr
ken-haynes-jr-new-mexico-manufactured-housing-association-past-president-manufactured-housing-living-news-com55x55It literally drives me temporarily insane when I read or hear manufactured housing referred to by the media, by any other nomenclature than manufactured housing, or manufactured home.

 

Read more…

 

• AIA – Manufactured Housing Specialty Insurance Agents Alliance Celebrates its 15th Anniversary

by Kurt Kelley, JD

kurt-kelly-american-insurance-agency-aia 50x50Bellingham, WA August 25, 2015.

Read more…

 

• Renters’ Nation – Dark Side of Dodd-Frank, its Impact on Affordable Housing – what 38 hours and 25 minutes reveal 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach


tony- kovachWe’ll let John Caron – whom we interviewed for this episode of 
Inside MH – tell you about his significant history in manufactured housing, MH Communities and in real estate investing in his own words.

Read more…

 

• Controversial Media Reports – The Guardian & KVUE – On-The-Record Interview with Frank Rolfe of Mobile Home University, MobileHomeParkStore, RV Horizons 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachOne of the most controversial figures in the MHC world today is Frank Rolfe.

Read more…

 

• Do People Research Manufactured Home Personalities, Companies and MH Industry Subjects? Yes! 

 by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachDo people research companies and people on MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com?

Read more…

 

• A Cup of Coffee with…Chris Parrish

a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Parrish Manor).

Read more…

 

• A Cup of Coffee with…Dan Rinzema


a-cup-mhmsm-com1) 
Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at MHVillage/DataComp)

Dan Rinzema, President and CEO, Datacomp Appraisal Systems, Inc. and MHVillage, Inc..

Read more…

 

MARKETING

 

• You Like Me, You Really Do Like Me!

by Wayne Coakley
WayneCoakleyGrenadeMarketingGroupReputationMarketing-ManufacturedHousing-55x62 headshot_MHProNews-com-As you know, nowadays people search online before they buy just about anything.

 

Read more…

 

Matt Weaver, Campbell Caron Properties on IREM, Management, More! Inside MH Road Show Video 

 by Soheyla Kovach

s-k“Failure is Not an Option.”

 

Read more…

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

 

• Living with Wisdom – 3 Tips for Today

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comWisdom – the blending of – information, knowledge, experience, judgment, truth, reality, maturity – to achieve dreams, goals, life purpose, inner peace and happiness…

 

Read more…

 

• ZigOn Work

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarOne of my favorite quips about work is this: Someone asked a worker how long he had been working for his company and he smilingly responded, “Ever since they threatened to fire me.”

Read more…

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-

 

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

August 2015 in Manufactured Homeville

August 1st, 2015 1 comment

In August 2009, shortly after the venerable MHMerchandiser Magazine quietly closed, my truly better half and I made the decision to launch an eZine for manufactured housing industry pros.  We have a vision of what we launched as being the virtual first step in creating platforms that would inform and inspire innovation that would lead to industry recovery and growth.

1-mhpronews-logo-manufactured-housing-professional-news

ChrisOlvera-MerchandiserEditor-viaLinkedInMastheadBlog-MHProNews-com-

Don Glisson Jr., President and CEO of Triad Financial Services candidly said he thought we were crazy to launch during the worst downturn in MH history (and the worst economy in the U.S. since the Great Depression).  As Steve Lefler of Modular Lifestyles said, quoting Apple’s Steve Jobs,

“Here’s to the crazy ones!…They are the ones who change things…”

Let’s quickly say that while we’re happy to play various roles, including that of the spark plug,  we’ve never been alone in this great pro-MH Industry adventure.  This and MHLivingNews.com have been about collaboration and team work, aimed at ever greater industry success and growth.

TeamWorkWorks-MastheadBlogMHProNews-com-

No matter how things may appear, success is routinely a matter of team work.

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MHLivingNews-logo-ManufacturedHomeLivingNews-comMobileHomeLivingNews-com-

                                                                                                                                                                          T.E.A.M. = Together, Everyone Achievs More.  These Industry Leading Trade Platforms are both #1 in their niche. MHProNews has more traffic/visitors than all ‘like’ national MH media combined.

The original eZine evolved into two, full blown trade media sites. This site has the first and still only Daily Business News and the most robust emailed news updates – delivered twice weekly – found anywhere in MH.

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Before introducing this month’s Featured Articles and their authors, let me take a moment to acknowledge and thank all those who this year are and have been involved in supporting MHProNews.com, MHLivingNews.com and/or the MH Alliance/Partners in Progress plan.

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These are the firms, like Hart-King’s mailer shown suggests, whose leaders see the value in providing the Information, Inspiration and Innovation for Industry Pros the and the image building and education found on ManufactutedHomeLivingNews.com.

Manufactured and Modular Home Producers

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 Sunshine Homes

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Manufactured and Modular Home Retailers

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Manufactured Home Communities

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Financial and other Industry Services

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Please note the fine cross section of industry involvement and support represented by the firms above.  Noted too they range from ‘mom and pop’ operations to some of the biggest in the industry in their respective fields.

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Each of our sister sites – MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com – are the runaway most popular in their category.  The pro-Industry insights possible on both sites are only possible due to the support of those noted above – and others whose names could still be added to this list, as we plan to update the above soon.

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It is a pleasure working with dedicated professionals at all levels in this amazing Manufactured Housing industry. When we bring our best forward, working together, we can all achieve more.

With no further Adieu, let’s dive into Amazing August 2015’s Featured Articles.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 6, No. 11, 2015

Alphabetically by Category

 COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

• Piketty Vs. Rognlie: Land Use Restrictions Inflate Housing Values, Drive Wealth Concentration

ChuckDevoreForbesContributor-posted_MHProNews-com-50x50-by Chuck DeVore

Thomas Piketty in “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” frets that wealth inequality will grow because capital’s share of income will grow faster than the economy. Thus, the “1 percent” will be richer.

Read more…

 

• Doctor, lawyer…Indian Chief? Does a Community, Company, Product or Service Name Create Risks?

 by Nadeen Green, JD

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In my role as Senior Counsel with For Rent Media Solutions™ I actually have more job responsibilities than my (favorite!) role as “Fair Housing Lady.

Read more…

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

 

• How to Track Your Online Reputation

by Wayne Coakley

WayneCoakleyGrenadeMarketingGroupReputationMarketing-ManufacturedHousing-55x62 headshot_MHProNews-com-

Misinformation and rumors about your MH business can dominate search engine results.

Read more…

 

• The Lights Are On, But You’re Not Home?!?

ron-d'ambra-210warranty-posted-manufacturedhousingpronews-mhpronews-com-50x50-by Ron D’Ambra

When I first started in code enforcement for our industry, I was handed a desk copy of the “Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards,” known as Part 3280, and told to read it, understand it, and never forget it, so I did.

Read more…

 

• Experience and Innovation – Our Industry Needs Both!

by Tom Fath

Tom Fath-Operations Manager New Durham Estates and Home Sales55x55The MH Industry was originally built by entrepreneurs with a dream.

Read more…

 

• New Manufactured Home Charity Launched

by Katie Hauck

KatieHauck-HauckHomes-manufacturedhousingretailer-IL-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-MHGives, the new manufactured housing industry charity, is designed to bring together people with business skills and expertise to make a difference in the lives of children around the world.

Read more…

 

Manufactured Homes + Communities – “An Incredible Message” – Inside MH Video with John Caron 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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We’ll let John Caron – whom we interviewed for this episode of Inside MH – tell you about his significant history in manufactured housing, MH Communities and in real estate investing in his own words.

Read more…

 

• Another Cup of Coffee with… – MH Industry Leaders Exclusive Interviews 

a-cup-mhmsm-comAre you having A Cup of Coffee with… withdrawals this summer? Every month, there are THOUSANDS of hits on the exclusive interviews revisited below!

Read more…

 

• It’s All About Happy Customers, Experts and You!

 by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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If we had to summarize in a sentence a guiding principle of the Inside MH Road Show, it could start with the headline to this article.

Read more…

 

New and Updated Websites for Manufactured Housing – 4 Way to Make them Pay 

by Soheyla Kovach

SoheylaKovach-WebsiteDevelopment+SupportServices-MHProNews-com-photo83degreesmediaJulieBranaman-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-If we had to summarize in a sentence a guiding principle of the Inside MH Road Show, it could start with the headline to this article.

Read more…

 

• Manufactured Housing and Achieving Net Zero

by Steven Lefler

steve-lefler-vp-modular-lifestyles-newport-pacific-manufactured-homes-mhpronews-com-50x50= (1)Since 2010, Modular Lifestyles has been seeking to build and prove that affordable manufactured homes can reach “Net Zero” quicker than site-built homes in CA.

Read more…

 

• Texas Town Reverses Decision, Votes to Allow Manufactured Housing 

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1In a July 9, 2015, MHProNewsDaily Business News (DBN) post, the city council of Huntsville, Texas was set to prohibit manufactured homes (MH) from being sited within the city limits unless they are in a manufactured home community (MHC).

Read more…

 

Questionable FEMA “Request For Information” Regarding Standardization Of Manufactured Housing Floor Plan Designs

by M. Mark Weiss, JD

MMarkWeiss-PresidentManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReformMHARR-postedMHProNews-com-50x50-Attached for your information and review is a copy of a self-explanatory MHARR communication to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator W. Craig Fugate regarding a FEMA “Request for Information” (RFI) addressing the “Standardization of Floor Plan Design for Manufactured Housing Units.”

Read more…

MANAGEMENT

• Do you have any “Emotional Deadwood” hiding out in your organization? 

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comJust what is emotional deadwood?

Read more…

 

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

 

• 3 Weekly Wisdom Tips for a better life

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comOne of the major contributors to stress and therefore illness and even death is the lack of patience.

Read more…

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Justification June 2015 – The State of the Manufactured Housing Industry

June 2nd, 2015 No comments

The five year recovery is real from the bottom hit by manufactured home producers, yet tepid compared to the MH potential.  We can cheer every baby step forward, while challenging all to see that we are surrounded by opportunities to grow many times faster than the MH Industry has been.  

The facts, figures, videos and commentaries in this special State of the Manufactured Housing Industry issue all point to the fact that individually and collectively, we can do much better. 

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We could have produced an issue twice this size, and still have topics, examples and added commentary untouched.  This is more than enough to encourage an industry discussion of where we are, where we should be and how to get there. So your thoughts – private and for publication – on these articles and videos are encouraged.

Lived Experiences 

A decade ago, your Masthead scribe was put in charge of supervising 7 manufactured home communities that had been losing occupancy for years.  Part of the recovery plan I put on the table – which upper management largely okayed and adopted – was to reallocate budgeted dollars from one task to another….

…thus, in the next 18 months, our region lead that company, doubling the sales results of two larger regions combined.  We’ve had other like outcomes since, whenever the vision and plan are properly put to work. 

We are doing such growth programs today. These are done, working with willing strategic partners, via our consulting operation.  The successes that flow are always a team result.  So principles that worked a decade ago, works now too.  In fact, we have more tools today than back then.  Team work, works. 

So what’s observed in those articles this month that focus on the State of the Industry and its potential – these are not mere theories – these are tested principles that should make MH owners, managers and investors cheer…

…once they are understood, embraced and energetically adopted. 

Please ponder as you read the various reports. See the picture that emerges.  MH is barely scratching the surface of what can be done. 

Once you review the reports, decide to set time aside to discuss how your firm or organization – by re-allocating resources most already have – can go from where you are to where you should be.  Forward thinkers and doers are and will be the leaders in this team effort – allies –  strategic Partners in MH Progress. 

We are working with firms small to large and in between. What could happen through wise action?

> Our nation’s MHCs ought to be full, have waiting lists and often see appreciation of the resident-owned homes in them.  

> Our retail centers can grow rapidly and profitably.

> Factory home producers can increase production and profitably expand with confidence.

> Developments should renew anew the boom days of the past, but do it even better than before. 

> Suppliers can sell more, financial services can do more too while reducing risk when the right steps are taken. 

> Associations could benefit by making PEP a true reality. 

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Warren Buffett, Sam Zell and Jim Clayton are only some of the billionaires who “get it” about the MH potential and reality, and thus they want to do more.  They are not alone! Outside investors read our pages routinely. We are getting more contacts and inquiries from firms of all sizes.  Expect entries by operations of all sizes into the MH field.

MH could change in the twinkling of an eye, as it did a dozen years ago when Berkshire Hathaway first bought in.  

Will you be part of it? Will you get left behind or be an also ran? 

The multi-billion dollar players are on the sidelines; nibbling, bitting or waiting to make a big summer-time cannonball style splash.

Are there challenges? You bet. Easy doesn’t pay well, until you make what was once hard, easy…

Please dive into our big June issue. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks as always for your readership and my sincere appreciation for all those who support our MH Industry advancement efforts.  You are reading this because others in the know who want to grow make it possible.

June 2015 Featured Articles 

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 6, No. 8, 2015

Alphabetically by Category

 COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

• Tornado Safety – Photos that tell you to ‘have a plan’ for your Community

by Kathleen M. Bianculli, CIC

kathleen-bianculli-manufactured-housing-american-insurance-alliance-aia-posted--mhpronews-com-50x50-revised

It’s tornado season and a great time to look at your community’s plan for both tenants and employees.

Read more…

 

The Post That Should Not Need to be Written

by Nadeen Green, JD

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 Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the Fair Housing Matters conference in Nashville, Tennessee, hosted by the Tennessee Fair Housing Council, a private, non-profit organization with the mission to eliminate housing discrimination (http://www.tennfairhousing.org).

Read more…

FINANCING

 

• Senator Joe Donnelly on Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing

by Senator Joe Donnelly and others

senator-joe-donnelly-d-in-preserving-access-manufactured-housing-posted-mhpronews-com-55x55Editor’s Note: Senator Joe Donnelly and his team provided the following for-the-record response to MHProNews’ recent inquiry about manufactured housing related finance issues.

Read more…

 

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

• Letter to Tony Kovach from Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation and the Louisville Show Committee

by Ron Thomas, Sr.

ron-thomas-sr-rona-homes-founder-mmhf=louisville-show-chairman-posted=mhpronews-com-50x50-Dear Tony, I want to thank you for your exceptional work in promoting and providing educational seminars these last 5 years for the Louisville Show.

Read more…

 

• Mobile Homes and Trailer Houses Are Dead …and have been for nearly 40 years

by Victor Frost

victor-frost-60x50Every day our phone rings, or a customer walks into the Home Center, and they utter the words that are cringe worthy; “We want some information on your trailer houses” or “We’d like to look at some of your mobile homes.”

Read more…

Manufactured Homes – myths, reality and potential

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comFor years the manufactured housing industry has fought to maintain and in many cases even establish itself as a viable alternative to site built homes.

Read more…

• A Nation of Renters…or Home Buyers?

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachThe quarter full glass in front of you is begging to be filled. The growing demand for rental housing – and spiking rental rates – are crying out for manufactured housing to tap into those potential markets. 

Read more…

 

• Manufactured Home Lenders at the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show Sound Off

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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The recent Tunica Show brought about an amazingly rapid move from the prior location at the now closed Harrah’s site, to what the planned location at another Caesar’s property was supposed to be before the hiccup occurred, and finally to the location that came to pass.

Read more…

 

Don Glisson, Jr – CEO Triad Financial Services on Dodd-Frank, HR 650 S 682 and Manufactured Housing Financing

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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The comments that follow are the ‘full length’ comments shared by Triad Financial’s Chairman and CEO, Don Glisson, Jr..

Read more…

 

• Manufactured Housing By State and By the Numbers

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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In this ‘State of the Manufactured Housing Industry’ June 2015 issue, we are looking at a wide range of facts and figures, all of which should point to the current realities of our industry as well as to the potential for growth.

Read more…

 

• Scott Roberts – Roberts Resorts and Communities – Video Insights for Manufactured Housing Industry and Investment Professionals

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachOn June 4th, this insightful video interview will be finished and launched on this page. Please check back on that date to see it, thank you! 

 

• Realtors ® and Manufactured Housing Growth

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachThere are those who have told me that ‘going after’ getting Realtors ® involved with a retail center or MH|Community as a path to growing manufactured housing sales is a waste of time.

Read more…

 

• The State of the Manufactured Housing Industry

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachManufactured housing (MH) nationally is alive and growing. Our manufacturers are producing the best homes ever.

Read more…

 

• Rural Living – Returning to Exurban America?

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comby Matthew Silver

Before the meltdown of the housing market in 2008, metro areas lost 1.6 million people as the call of more wide open spaces, sprawling subdivisions and available mortgage credit drew people beyond the suburbs into exurbia, the outer ring.

Read more…

 

• Does it Matter what we call them? Mobile Home, Manufactured Home…? 

by Lea Anne Somerville

leaAnneSummervilleHome, Sweet, Home. Home is where the heart is. A house is just a house until we move inside, ahhhh, then it becomes a home. What is a home? Or more specifically, for the purposes of my article, what is the definition of a “mobile home?”

Read more…

 

• Small is Better … If it’s Beautiful

 by Bob Vahsholtz

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There’s a bit of flak flying around about RV makers encroaching on our turf.

Read more…

 

MANAGEMENT

 

• Matthew Kelly – Energy Management – Keynote Video Clip

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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Matthew Kelly raises an interesting topic in this video clip. Beyond time management, what comes next? Kelly argues that the answer is ‘energy management.

Read more…

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

• ZigOn Personality

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglar

My dictionary tells me that personality is the “personal or individual quality that makes one person be different and act differently from another.”

Read more…

l.a.'tony'kovach-us-supreme-court-washington-dc-mhpronews-com-By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

MH’s Amazing April 2015 – Navigating Threats, Growing Opportunities

April 1st, 2015 No comments

We are getting details ‘out there’ about the recent Tunica MH Show, and they reflect a growing trend of improvements for our factory-built home industry. We’ll share a video interview that has snippets from the new location for the Tunica Show below, along with a link to facts and figures that are important to all segments of our industry. 

Part of what our seminars and panel discussions covered in Tunica was ‘the future of manufactured housing.’  The topic covered both threats and opportunities. It will be one of the videos you should look for later in April.

It is our custom on the first Masthead post of the month to share the links to the new Featured Articles, in this case, for April 2015.  Those are below…

For example, you’ll see an article on Fair Housing by attorney Nadeen Green that ought to be an eye opener. In fact, it should be required reading for all who are managing or front line with the general public in selling or leasing homes.

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Image credit – HousingWire.

Lenny Kopowski brings out a topic that is critical for our industry, zoning and pre-emption. This has national importance for HUD Code and modular builders, retailers and others.

Maureen McMullan joins us for the first time, with an article on housing booms, the Marcellus and how an MH firm is tackling that opportunity. It’s a good read!

Bob Vahsholtz continues a theme in his column that is near to many of our hearts. How do we get the MH industry back onto a historically improving and innovative track?

Kathleen Bianculli hits on National Playground Safety Week, and what that can mean for MHC owners. Timely reading!

Zig Ziglar and Tim Connor have each provided their valued insights into motivation, management and inspiration that can support healthier bottom lines. Don’t miss their wisdom.

I’m providing you an article with a snapshot of the Tunica Show in the last 4 years, “by the numbers.” This will include quotable quotes from the MH Industry veteran who knows the show the best! The Louisville and Tunica events are more important to the industry than many realize. So the report plus the video above are helpful to all from coast-to-coast.

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How many in the media or public realize that the above is a mobile home?
We have our work cut out for us, but that is an opportunity in disguise!

Your scribe has also shared an article – loaded with videos! And graphics! – that is focused on the theme of “Growing Manufactured Housing via Compelling Words, Images and Savvy Education.” Want sustainable, positive growth? Then please do read, watch and pass them along to your circle of influence.

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We will be bringing you a host of videos from Tunica in the weeks ahead. If you haven’t been on MHLivingNews.com lately, here are some published items below – most with videos! – you may have missed. In no particular order – because each has its own powerful points – useful for our industry. Here are the red on white with blue links to the latest in consumer and general public focused information…

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/touring-a-manufactured-home-model-home-village-and-design-center-inside-mh-video/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/builder-wayne-hopper-compares-modern-manufactured-homes-with-conventional-construction-inside-mh-video/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/new-homes-for-millennials-boomers-inside-mh-video-terry-decio-skyline-homes/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/jim-clayton-founder-of-clayton-homes-and-clayton-bank-inside-mh-video-interview/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bill-matchneer-retired-federal-official-talks-about-modern-manufactured-homes-inside-mh-exclusive-video-interview/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/google-plans-massive-modular-expansion-of-headquarters/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/manufactured-home-handyman-tips-laying-new-kitchen-flooring/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/an-inside-look-at-manufactured-home-living-a-builders-and-home-owners-viewpoints/

Your team should know these videos, sharing them wisely, so they can sell more homes. They should spread the word via social media, blog posts, with links, etc..

With no further adieu, here are the titles, authors and links for the Featured Articles for April 2015.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 6, No. 7, 2015

Alphabetically by Category

 COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

• Are You Ready for National Playground Safety Week?

by Kathleen M. Bianculli, CIC

kathleen-bianculli-manufactured-housing-american-insurance-alliance-aia-posted--mhpronews-com-50x50-revisedNational Playground Safety Week is April 20 – 24, 2015! This is a great time to review your manufactured home community’s playground area and equipment.

Read more…

 

What if Someone Turns Me Into HUD on a Fair Housing Complaint?

by Nadeen Green, JD

 nadeen-green-mhpronews-comDear Fair Housing Lady, I fully intend to “do it right” and have never be involved in a HUD fair housing investigation. But I was wondering, what is involved if someone does call up HUD and “reports” me. Am I doomed?

Read more…

 

 

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

 

• White Paper on Manufactured Housing and Modular Home Zoning Issues

by Lenny Kopowski

Lenny-Kopowski-Louisiana-manufactured-housing_association-posted-mhpronews-com-50x50-Last month made 18 years that I have worked for the Louisiana Manufactured Housing Association. During which my objectives have been varied, but the core mission has been fair zoning for factory built housing.

Read more…

 

• Tunica Manufactured Housing Show Wrap-Up Report

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachWe spoke Tuesday, 3.31.2015 with Dennis Hill at Show Ways Unlimited, who was still in Tunica doing post-show wrap up details. We asked Dennis for some comments on the 2015 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.

Read more…

 

Taking a swing at fixing the affordable housing shortage in the Marcellus

by Maureen McMullen

maureen-mcmullen-shale-plays-media=credit-posted-mhpronews-com-50x50pixels-An energy boom can do a lot for a state; oil and gas development can create jobs and bolster the state’s economy. Unfortunately, another common aspect attributed to a booming oil and gas industry is housing shortage, and Pennsylvania has been no exception.

Read more…

 

• The Rules for Housing Innovation – Tying Innovator’s Hands

 by Bob Vahsholtz

bob-vahsholtz-author-dueling-curves-battle-for-housing-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-manufatured-housing-professional-news-50x50-A century of housing innovation! Let us make a list of all the breakthroughs! All the new ideas that have made America the most efficient producer of housing in the world! Here’s the list:

Read more…

 

MARKETING

 

• Growing Manufactured Housing via Compelling Words, Images and Savvy Educational Deeds

 by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachWe’re big believers in the power of telling the truth in compelling ways. Messages on any topic can be shared via a combination of compelling graphics, words, photos and videos.

Read more…

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

• Yes or No . . . That is the dilemma!

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comEver said no and later wished you had said Yes? How about the reverse – said yes and later wished you had said no? Come on – we all do both frequently and some of us more often that we should and why?

Read more…

ZigOn Saying Thank You

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarUS President Theodore Roosevelt has been described as founder of the Bull Moose Party, the man who led his troops up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War, a big game hunter, family man, civic servant and a host of other things.

Read more…

latonykovach-louisiville2015-mhpronews-business-building-seminars-By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Where there is Smoke…is there Manufactured Housing Institute Fire?

December 20th, 2014 1 comment

Some of the hardest working, savviest professionals in manufactured housing bear the title ‘state association executive director’ – or in some cases – ‘state association president,’ etc.. State associations are at the grass roots level of the industry’s representation. No matter how fabulous a national association might be or become, they would still require those state execs to do their jobs well for the national group to be successful in DC.

federated-states-mh-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-Which is why when MHI was formed, the deal made included a seat at the table through the “Federated States” division for those state associations. The state and regional community associations aren’t our focus today, but are mentioned because some key state execs tell me similar things to what you’ll see quoted below.

We will also explore the state and community associations in a future column.

Let’s start with comparatively light stuff, and work towards some heavier items…

When you see the words “Where is our industry?” in an email, that is often verbal shorthand for the umbrella national association, which in MH, is the Manufactured Housing Institute or MHI.

A VP of a large company emailed me a series of articles, and in one used exactly those words, “Where is our industry?” and in others a bit mail-bags-US-navy-wikicommons-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-stronger and more detailed language.

The subject of those mainstream-media articles sent by the VP were examples where MHI ought to be deeply engaged on a a given subject.

That VP suggests they are AWOL. Nor is that successful professional alone.

A president of another large firm told me, “It looks like we are heading back to having too many meetings at MHI.Yes, sir was part of my reply. We both agreed there is value to those meetings,

  • education,
  • information, along with
  • networking are all good things that MHI happens to do well.

But once more – the question was raised – where is the action that goes along with that information?  We published a series of video interviews on topics that MHI put on stage last April, where is the MHI action on any one of them, I was asked?

Where are the steps, asks another respected business owner, to addressing the issues that are holding those of us in MH collectively back?

Among the common questions we get from potential investors, researchers and the mainstream media is – when members of your industry know what is holding you back, why are those issues not directly addressed?

Why indeed are we seeing so many questions, concerns and allegations on the topics noted herein, or those not yet covered?

On the Record…

We don’t have to look far for on the record comments. Nancy Geer has a very thoughtful column, linked here.

Leigh J. Abrams, Steve Adler and Randy Rowe are among those who have called for an industry image campaign. There are independent producers that want it too. So where is the action? Where is MHI on these issues?

But the off-the-record comments are often more colorful, more blunt and thus will not usually see the light of day unless it is like this, as a source being cited anonymously. Here is an unedited example from a successful retailing and community pro, taken from a longer message to me:

You have 3 large builders against image. Were any one of them to bolt MHI, the viability of the association would be jeopardized.  Were two or more to leave,  the association would cease to exist, putting Jennison in the bread line.  You wonder why he is not image campaigning. You need to put the Latony bunson burner to the azzes of the big 3. But then any advertising from them to you,  if it happens, is gone. Not so easy,  is it my boy?”

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To answer that, advertising dollars from those firms – while welcome – has never been a big issue for us. When someone comes on board with us to advertise, they do it because they know we have the runaway largest audience of MH professional readers. They do it because the investors are reading here; along with public officials, non-profits and educators. They sponsor us because they know we will tackle topics in a fair and balanced fashion others won’t.

By the way, Dick Jennison has said as much in writing, stating that MHProNews and this blog are “fair and balanced.”

FYI, I had to smile at the bunsen burner comment above because I know of at least one of those Big Three HUD Code Builders who has publicly stated they would support an industry image campaign.

More on that another time.

More eMail and Insider Sources

imagecredit-pixgood+mhi-logo-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-I’ve been sent documents and memos, some of which originated in MHI’s office in Arlington.  Some come from the president himself, though he may not realize its importance.

These are not likely to be used like an Edward Snowden or SONY Entertainment level embarrassing revelation. In saying that we as a publisher have the documents, we enjoy the 1st Amendment rights the courts have ruled protecting our using them.

But we will not use them today.  Because what is needed are the relatively lighter ones to remind someone that there are people all around who have fingers with which to type us, and tongues with which to speak.

Those sources shared these items with MHProNews,  knowing we will only use what is needed, when it is needed, as it is needed. So this post won’t be the Pentagon Papers or a big document dump. Rather, it will serve as a reminder that positive changes are necessary, and that steps to correct problems will hopefully take place.

I’ve reviewed my notes from conversations with what we will dub, ‘insiders.’

Among other things, they tell me about the pattern of the revolving door at MHI, previously mentioned in this popular article linked here.

Now, when you have a “bad fit,” most owners or managers would agree that the door should revolve.

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But when you have just hired someone after a careful vetting process, and they leave you on their own within weeks or months of arrival, that should make someone at the top levels ask, hey, what gives?

When an email tells me that the Suppliers Division will have to do “fund raising” if we are to see an MHI backed set of videos that would promote the industry, then I have to say, what gives?

What are we paying our dues for – and why do we need MHI at all for such an effort – if they won’t put a dime of our dues towards a good effort that will arguably help the association and the industry?

Many think that it is the “Big Three” producers that keep an image campaign or other needed solutions from advancing. I can be persuaded drspikecook=credit-come-on-we=can-do-better-than-this-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com0on that either way.

But objectively we must note again that at least one of those big three has said publicly they will support such an effort. So to be fair and as the managing member of the top trade publication in the MH Industry, I’m not ready to throw those 3 under the bus as the cause.

Big manufacturers as well as independents all have an incentive to grow the biz. If factories are selling more, that also means Communities are filling more spaces and Retailers are selling more homes too.

 

Factories have come together at trade shows. Why not promotion?

So is there possibly another explanation for this ‘lack of appetite‘ – as a leading MHI official told me – for promoting the industry?

 

Avoiding Another Internal MH Industry War

This is a serious topic that follows.  Let me now say that we’ve confirmed with multiple sources that a member of the MHI staff allegedly has a plan to put in place a membership director (that won’t likely be the title). Please stop and think about that fact for a few moments.

MHI has been bleeding some members, gaining some others, and has been at roughly equilibrium for some time now. There is a routine call for us as members (and our parent company is a member) to help recruit new members for the association. No doubt that person-to-person recruiting has yielded some results for MHI.

So why do we think that hiring a membership director – who in Washington DC is bound to draw a hefty salary – is likely to move the needle much for the association?

Even if a new membership director did so, there is a questionable practice in a filling a key role like that of hiring someone from outside of the ranks of our industry.

If MHI hires someone from outside our ranks, MHI may as well take that money and burn it. It takes too long to learn the industry’s politics for an outsider to be effective. They’ll be gone before they get anything of merit done.

But let’s take this analysis a step further.

Inside sources say that a goal of this includes recruiting MHARR members. Hey, your Masthead  scribe was publicly opposed last spring to what we thought was a frontal assault by MHARR on MHI. We opposed that as a publisher and we are equally opposed to a frontal assault by MHI on MHARR.

That will only result in a war, and the Industry can ill afford that at such low shipment levels. We want to see the associations work for peace.  So if this new job plan is merely a tactical blunder, we hope this warning flare will make the good folks in Arlington think again.

Further, if MHI wants to court MHARR – and remember, we believe that both should work with each other – then MHI will have to stop taking positions that arguably are aimed at harming MHARR producers.

To MHARR’s credit, they disavowed what we thought was their winter launch against MHI early in 2014. Let me say it again, we applaud the fact that MHARR’s leaders clarified their stance.

It is my sincere hope that MHI, if indeed our sources are correct, will change course before it is too late. Common interests – justice – is a two way street.

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As someone near DC told me this week, this is the time of peace and joy. Let this be just that, not in some ‘in name only,’ or papered over fashion, but rather as getting to the heart of issues that divide us.

True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Back to Those Manufactured Housing State Association Execs

Half of those state execs are in markets that are still losing new HUD Code home shipments.

There are some that tell us that if we subtract out homes being shipped to MHCs for use as rentals, or subtract out homes going to the fracking areas, we are still losing shipments nationally.

Let’s agree that such facts are avoidable in a trillion dollar a year housing market where rents are rising and site building is so expensive!

Christmas is nearly upon us, and we have a much more positive and solution oriented item in mind for the mid-week blog post. Please don’t miss that one.

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But this sampling of industry input has to be shared, or we as a pro-industry publisher aren’t doing our job. Heck, as a pro-MHI member, we aren’t doing our job if we fail to express to leaders what many are saying privately or publicly.

Let’s work wisely together to collectively unlock that cash bag. Let’s avoid those costly past mis-steps!

FYI – for those who think that all we need is an image campaign, let me beg to differ. Maybe nuance is a better way for me to phrase that…because Image alone is not enough.”   We’ll look at what we need – including the finance issue – in an upcoming column. Thanks for checking in, for continuing to sounding off to us – on or off the record – and Merry Christmas. ##

latonykovach-us-supreme-court-building-washington-dc-masthead-mhpronews-com-_light- (1)(Image credits – see individual image file name.)

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

An Emotion-Packed, Visceral Experience

December 3rd, 2014 No comments

For any who’ve sold or bought homes – factory-built or otherwise – they know that it’s an emotionally-charged process for many shoppers. It’s a visceral experience.

The mainstream media run stories on our homes and communities. Often, its tales of ‘mobile home’ fires, park closures, wind-storms, flooding, etc.. As if those things were limited to pre-HUD code “mobile homes!”

When industry professionals see ‘downer’ media stories, is it surprising when many housing shoppers think less of our homes as a result?

When a community operator is in the news because they’re facing a class action law suit, or other seemingly bad MH news hits, how does that help sell more modern manufactured homes?

We see some interesting factors coming together. First, the positive examples.

Many are “discovering” modern manufactured housing, in a good way. Some find appeal in:

> the energy savings, check!

> Green or net zero designs like Steve Lefler/Modular Lifestyles promotes, check!

> The lower-costs during a growing affordable housing crisis, check!

> Fits the budgets of low and modest income Americans. Check!

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Image credit: OpenSource and FlickerCreativeCommons

The MH Industry-fueled Dichotomy

We see MHC leaders like Randy Rowe, Steve Adler – see Steve’s fine, insightful interview, linked here – and others in MH that are doing their level best to create good homes and an appealing lifestyle.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are stories coming out of some communities that – if you read the media accounts – just don’t seem to be doing what’s right. Here’s a DBN story on a sad, dubious example. If the allegations are true, the class action suit is understandable.

On our popular Daily Business News (DBN), we cover the bad news, good and in between. That’s our policy. For example, when Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) had a nice article in the news, we covered it, see this link.

But when that huge judgment against ELS was awarded earlier this year, we covered that too. We also shared expert commentary on the case, two examples of ‘failure to maintain’ are here and here.

We strive to be fair and balanced, because that is pro-industry.

When an apparent bad news story has unfair media handling, we want to present both sides when possible – see another example, linked here. We are NOT in business to make the industry look bad, but nor are we in business of ignoring reality. The truth well told is powerful, and often favors MH.

The High Cost of Division

Industry division – the family feud and more – all carry a high price tag. We have evidence and market facts that suggest that manufactured housing ought to be doing much better than the sub-70,000 shipments we’re currently seeking.

One caller today, who’s operations has sold thousands of homes into both fee simple (land/home deals) or land lease communities, told me he thinks in the current economic conditions, we could be doing 500,000 home a year.

“The REAL Competition” you face isn’t the retailer down the road – in some markets, way down the road – or the other nearby MHCommunity.

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Image credit: Scott Maxwell FlickrCreativeCommons

The far bigger competition is

  • Apartments

  • Condos

  • Townhouses

  • Duplexes

  • Conventional housing

  • Subsidized rentals, etc.

The other competitor is the media. The solutions?

> Fostering our own media

> Getting more of our good stories into the mainstream media.

> Not embracing those who cause bad stories, we ought to “police our own.”

> Teaming up with others to grow your business.

> We need our own ‘network,’ surprisingly doable today.

A respected industry association exec wisely said (close paraphrase), ‘Tony, we’re not in the business of defending the bad behavior of an industry member.’

More next time. Please check out the read-hot December featured stories and the popular Daily Business News. Your feedback is encouraged. ##

la-tony-kovachby L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach